As we near the end of November, I want to express my appreciation for the opportunity to give you some helpful hints as you progress in your teaching career. Never forget that teachers touch lives, empower students, make heroes, open doors of opportunities, encourage dreamers, make dreams come true, replace a parent sometimes, unlock doors, solve mysteries, and in general improve the human condition.
That sounds like a tall order but we, as teachers, do this all the time. These things are not in our job descriptions or our bargained contracts (if we have them), but the opportunities are there for us every day. What other profession has this same scope of influence that can change the world and change lives?
Having said all of that, and I do believe it with my whole heart, I want to advise you to TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. At the beginning of my career, I saw so many needs and wanted to “fix” everything and be the best teacher. A college professor reminded me that I was responsible for the time that I had the students each day — but I did not have them 24-7. And that is true.
So give all that you have when you have the students, and then leave it for another day. Burnout is a very big problem in special education because of the many demands and sometimes seemingly few rewards. But I believe if you can strive for a balance between being that excellent teacher and maintaining outside interests, you will be a better teacher. You may also increase your chances of remaining in special education. These activities can include participating in your church, setting time to be with friends, playing on a sports team, taking an exercise class, or even joining a professional organization. The point is, take some time for you.
I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday and will spend some quality time with family and friends. This will help you return to the classroom renewed. My last post will focus on becoming a National Board Certified Teacher.
Jane H. Humphrey, NBCT